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Try tried and Trident again!?!

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election 2015

So here’s the run down on Trident (four submarines armed with missiles and warheads) and the outline to what the news and concerns are about Trident:

Conservatives pledge to upgrade Trident as do some other parties, good, bad, or unsure?

Whilst Shadow Labour Welsh Secretary Mr Smith hinted that Labour would ‘get rid’ of the funding for Trident.

The Trident issue will be resolved after the election, when it will be settled whether Trident will be replaced, upgraded or scrapped and the SNP and Green’s are aiming to do the latter.

The Liberal Democrats are not keen on Trident and want to make cuts to Trident with an aim to limit the current fleet of four submarines to three, this would see three subs renewed and one scrapped, and savings made.

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Ukip has said that it would cancel the Trident replacement in favour of a cheaper “advanced stealth cruise-type missile” that can be delivered by land, sea or air.

With all this talk of the General Election 2015 coming up, Trident has become a focus and decisions on Trident’s future has become speculative.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said about Ed Miliband as using Trident the Nuclear Deterrent as a chip to be bargaining with the SNP over, who are wanting an open vote in Parliament on the pending issue of Trident, which Labour are said to be in favour for, although prior to this Ed Miliband had said he was committed to Trident.

Trident’s missiles, warheads, and submarines are no doubt costly according to a series of statements made in Parliament by ministers of the Minstry of Defence  in 2008 and 2012 the annual operating costs of the Trident programme amount to around 5 to 6 per cent of the defence budget. That’s the equivalent of between £2 to £2.4 billion.

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(CND) The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament state on their website that “the current government is in favour of replacing Trident at a cost of around £100 billion. This money would be enough to fully fund A&E services for 40 years, employ 150,000 new nurses, build 1.5 million affordable homes, build 30,000 new primary schools, or cover tuition fees for 4 million students. That includes the cost of running and servicing the submarines over a projected 40-year lifespan.”

Is now the right time to do away with Trident?

Tried and tested Trident does it work as a deterrent?

Dangerous deterrent?

Trident deterrent or threat?

Tired of Trident?

Is it too costly?

Many of the campaigners and protesters against Trident have brought these questions to the Election 2015 spotlight, political parties and candidates have had to put an emphasis on this issue to optimize their opportunities to gain voters.

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Unilateral Disarmament alongside the World is also what Protesters and Campaigners against Trident have been pointing out and are encouraging the stance that the UK could go further with a lateral disarmament?

Would this do the UK and the World a world of good? or not? An interesting fact is that the UK is also a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which is applied to Trident; as by international law Britain is committed to eliminating its nuclear arsenal under Article VI of the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

190 states have signed the treaty, which states that: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” The treaty is reviewed every five years. At the latest NPT Review Conference in New York in 2010, Britain reaffirmed its “unequivocal” commitment to disarm.

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The upcoming General election has found many other questions to be asked of Trident, such as whether or not Trident has become outdated since the Cold War era, and whether it acts as a deterrent or is ineffective in today’s society as there is at present no intent to use Nuclear weaponry.

An Insurance policy, a deterrent only, as has been proclaimed from the beginning of the debates surrounding Trident.

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Most recently in April 2015 David Cameron said “Trident is the ultimate insurance policy for our country.” He also stated at the Conservatives’ Manifesto Launch that he wanted to build four new Submarines not three as the Liberal Democrats want.

The latest debate on Trident has become a key highlight of the Election 2015 and is an issue which seems to have many politicians trying to appeal to a range of their potential voters.

David Cameron made clear his views on Trident making a pledge to renew, whilst Ed tries to work his Miliband magic into the office at No 10, whether Mr Miliband will waver on Trident is awaited by many.

Nicola Sturgeon leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) who has been linked to a potential coalition with Labour, should there be a hung parliament, she said of Trident, that they would make Trident a “red line” issue whereby there is no compromise on whether Trident should be given the go-ahead, “it is a red line issue and will be voted to be scrapped.”

The Green Party who have been outspoken about Trident for a long time said of the pressing issue “The government intentionally pushed the review on our nuclear weapons capability back to 2016 to prevent it becoming a general election issue,” said Lesley Grahame, peace and disarmament spokeswoman for the Green party. “Every pound spent before the decision, before parliament gets to vote on the matter, or a public debate is held, should be considered a very serious blow for democracy.”

Miss Grahame is referring to the blows most recently of an ongoing situation where money is being spent on Trident before the review has taken place which is due in 2016.

Lastly controversy surrounds Trident as it is not an ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ as many like David Cameron and Ed Miliband claim; Trident works with the US which Trident is dependent on and involved with the US; the Trident missiles are manufactured in the US and the alliance has compatible missiles which can be used in the UK submarines as well as the US ones. Yet Trident is still referred to as ‘independent’.

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I spoke to Shasha Khan Green Party Candidate for Croydon North and he gave me his take on an independent  Trident saying:

“It is important to dispel the myth that Trident is an independent nuclear deterrent. These missiles are dependent on US satellites.”

I asked him also what he thought about the renewal of Trident, Shasha told me:

“It is abhorrent to start spending £100 billion pounds on renewing Trident when according to Mumsnet one in five mothers regularly skips a meal so that their children can eat.

There are many dangers and concerns with Trident using the Trident arsenal would cause nuclear proliferation on a destructive scale more powerful than that of Hiroshima. Then there is the threat of Nuclear accidents with submarines, referring to the most recent accident with the Submarine in Russia which caught fire and when in 2011 a sub was carrying atomic weapons and also caught fire.

Many would argue that in today’s world with threats from rogue states and also the threat of international terrorism that Trident is a must, others are saying the costs of Trident is too expensive to the UK and will these weapons of immense destruction ever be used?

Shasha Khan

Shasha Khan and the Green Party believe strongly against Trident and he outlined his concern:

“Renewing Trident sends the wrong message to the rest of the world, it says if you want security you need nuclear missiles.”

To conclude: Trident, scrapped or saved?

Until the General Election 2015 is over Trident will be raged about in debates and the debate will rage on till 2016 which will be ‘decision time’ and Trident will have to be scrapped or saved.

NEW DNA a breakthrough in Science!

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Science has made a breakthrough!

New DNA discovered!

A discovery of a new type of DNA and a discovery of a new unknown.

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Synthetic Biology Scientists have created the First Living Organism with extended and Evolutionary New DNA .

Who  created this Living organism which is a semi-synthetic bacterium brought about by working with Algae and Ecoli Bacterium;

A team of Scientists in California from The Scripps Research Institute:

TSRI Associate Professor Floyd E. Romesberg, led the research team.

DNA!

What is DNA?

DNA IS SHORT FOR : “Deoxyribonucleic acid”

DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms.

DNA is special, because it holds the code for every cell in your body.

DNA is used by every cell in the body, the DNA is an instruction manual for the cells which use it for reference in forming and the DNA essentially assigns the cells with a role of what to do.

In addition and summary, DNA takes the shape of a double stranded helix and is a twisted long ladder like spiralled chain of nucleotides which carry the programming of certain codes for every cell in your body.

The team recently published their report and exclusive coverage was given to Nature Journal, , the lead author of the new report Denis A. Malyshev, a member of the Romesberg laboratory was lead author of the new report, here are a few snippets from the report:

“Organisms are defined by the information encoded in their genomes, and since the origin of life this information has been encoded using a two-base-pair genetic alphabet (A–T and G–C). In the science laboratory the alphabet has been expanded to include several unnatural base pairs (UBPs).

“The expansion of an organism’s genetic alphabet presents new and unprecedented challenges” the latter was said in context of within the laboratory although also rings well in the case of all the World outside of Science.

What does this mean for DNA in general?

The dangers of this are to Nature taking up these new properties of DNA as we now know it, it would be alien man made DNA which could prove dangerous, however the scientists take all precautions to prevent this happening by Neutralising the Bacterium so it cannot multiply or interact with Nature.

The only disadvantage with this NEW DNA is that it needs to be provided with the standard necessay building blocks of DNA which then allows it to go on to create new DNA and through evolution pass this DNA on, as an inherant trait, so this new DNA has to be provided with building blocks, its only limitations. However with this type of DNA, it could prove useful as many synthetic biological bacterium have gone on to do and are still researching into; Such as Ecoli in Diesel, bacterium in the industry of Medicine, DNA studies/manipulation/replication are also happening in IVF, Breast cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Lung Cancer and many more, the aim is to monitor the DNA initially and then try to programme it to fight diseases and cancers, also in the identification stages there can be options to have prevantative surgery, which without DNA there would not be that identification process to assess who needs surgery and who doesn’t.

The industry of Medical healthcare has benefited from DNA research programmes, it helps Dr’s to understand things like life better, genes, life cycles, diseases, illnesses, and can help to better prevent medical problems.

The problems DNA faces are that of how ethical this type of studying and replicating is, also if this information on DNA fall into the hands of the wrong people it can lead to problems, such as Insurance companies assesing you on the merit of your DNA.

Raj News spoke to Dr Nana Oppong, a GP, he said “there has to be strong controls on DNA information, and there are dangers in reliance on DNA and genes and a reliance on replicating DNA and genes, there is a danger to the environment with the issue of self replication, like we’ve seen in IVF where people want certain sexes for their babies, there has to be a controlled process to prevent these dangers to the self, nature and the environment.”

DNA in Science to be more specific Biology, has discovered a breakthrough in DNA, so what can this DNA do?

Well THE DNA IS WHATS NEW ABOUT THIS LIVING ORGANISM (BACTERIUM – E COLI),THE DNA is unknown to nature, also it can transmit its DNA to other DNA make up, for example DNA was before in the Alphabet as A, B, C, D, now with this new DNA it can not only match into a DNA structure and pass on its new DNA it also is the new E and F letters found in this semi-synthetic Bacterium that make up the new DNA alphabet.

This DNA is not only partly artificial, it is also partly real, this Bacterium is a living organism, and as it is unseen before in the Science world of synthetic biology which has seen many Scientist all endeavour with experiements such as the reports published recently by research teams mapping the human proteome maps, with which their reports nearly complete in full the human map for proteome.

So this means a new pair of letters in the Alphabet of DNA’s molecular structure! It also means a new pair of bases in DNA’s molecular structure that are unknown and not found in Nature or the Human. Amazing that this discovery came about via partly artificial bacteria that has produced a new set of DNA.

The Make up of DNA
The DNA in a cell is a pattern made up of four different parts called nucleotides.

An alphabet that has only four letters. DNA is a long string of these four letters.The four letters usually pair in two’s and this is standard behaviour for DNA formation, although there are certain discrepancies that happen in a variation of the standard pairing formula of DNA.

Now we have new letters in the world of DNA and this is a real scientific breakthrough.

This breakthrough has been made in the fields of synthetic biology, which has seen a real buzz in this industry from its time 15 years ago, when this synthetic technoilgoy allowed for this type of experimentation.

What is synthetic biology?

  • Synthetic biology refers to both:
    • the design and fabrication of biological components and systems that do not already exist in the natural world
    • the re-design and fabrication of existing biological systems.

There are two types of synthetic biologists. The first group uses unnatural molecules to mimic natural molecules with the goal of creating artificial life. The second group uses natural molecules and assembles them into a system that acts unnaturally. In general, the goal is to solve problems that are not easily understood through analysis and observation alone and it is only achieved by the manifestation of new models. So far, synthetic biology has produced diagnostic tools for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis viruses as well as devices from biomolecular parts with interesting functions. The term “synthetic biology” was first used on genetically engineered bacteria that were created with recombinant DNA technology which was synonymous with bioengineering. Later the term “synthetic biology” was used as a mean to redesign life which is an extension of biomimetic chemistry, where organic synthesis is used to generate artificial molecules that mimic natural molecules such as enzymes.

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WHAT DID THEY DO AND WHAT DID THEY ACHIEVE:
In the new study, the team synthesized a stretch of circular DNA known as a plasmid and inserted it into living cells of the common bacterium E. coli.

A key problem was in finding DNA BASE PAIRS that would synchronise with standard DNA and not be attacked by the DNA’s self defense mechanism.

They achieved in getting the E. coli cells to replicate these semi-synthetic DNA bases, which it is capable of replicating.

The new dna bases are not similar at all to standard DNA as the chemical make-ups are considerably different.

What they did in a quote:
“What Romesberg and his team managed to do was insert a small loop of DNA – a plasmid into an Escherichia coli cell – that’s E. coli to you and me, a bacteria that’s usually harmless but can occasionally be quite nasty, indeed.

When the E. coli bacteria replicated, it not only copied its natural DNA, but also created a new pair of the alien bases, and kept doing so generation after generation for nearly a week, until the supply of the nucleoside triphosphates necessary to build the alien bases, which were in a fluid surrounding the bacteria, ran out.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/08/boffinary_breakthrough_first_selfreplicating_life_with_alien_dna/

HOW DID THEY DO IT?

Romesberg and his laboratory have been working since the late 1990s to find pairs of molecules that could serve as new, functional DNA bases—and, in principle, could code for proteins and organisms that have never existed before.

With this latest discovery MAY 7th 2014, Romesberg’s laboratory had discovered, two molecules known as d5SICS and dNaM. The goal was to get the E. coli cells to replicate this semi-synthetic DNA as normally as possible.

The experiment involved the use of two new base molecules – known as d5SICS* and dNaM*, (THE name of the two NEW DNA) -, scientists found thaTht these molecules could be stably incorporated as a pair into a standard stretch of DNA known as a ‘plasmid’ molecule in vitro (in the “test tube”.).  The E COLI BACTERIUM then went on to form with the plasmid DNA, which only contained natural T-A and C-G base pairs (strands of DNA) along with the best-performing unnatural base pair.

The research was funded in part by the US National Institutes of Health

DNA GREEN

Why are Scientists globally working to redesign bacterium?

This is because Bacteria are the simplest known objects from the natural world that are capable of replicating when provided with only simpler components (e.g., broth). Still, bacteria are far from simple. Bacteria also provide the basic environment in which synthetic biological systems exist and act (i.e., they are like the power supply and chassis of a computer). By re-designing/refactoring a simple living system we hope to learn how to better couple (and decouple) our designed systems from their host environment.

MORE ON SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY and Scientists:

Synthetic biologists are trying to assemble unnatural components to support Darwinian evolution. Recently, the engineering community is seeking to extract components from the biological systems to test and confirm them as building units to be reassembled in a way that can mimic the living nature.

In the engineering aspect of synthetic biology, the suitable parts are the ones that can contribute independently to the whole system so that the behavior of an assembly can be predicted.

 

DNA RED

 

The History of DNA :

DNA consists of double-stranded anti-parallel strands each having four various nucleotides assembled from bases, sugars and phosphates which are made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and phosphorus atoms.

“With analysis and observation alone, scientists convince themselves that the paradigms are the truth and if the data contradicts the theory, the data normally is discarded as an error, where synthesis encourages scientists to cross into the new land and define new theories.

The same synthesis has long been used in chemistry such as chromatography. The combination of chemistry, biology and engineering can therefore create artificial Darwinian systems.”

To conclude – DNA has always remained the same throughout Nature since the dawn of the earth, now the unknown DNA is in stark contrast to the view that everyliving thing has the same DNA. The oldest evolutionary ancestral human DNA to date is 40,000 years old and is the same make up as the DNA of everything else, now will this new UNKNOWN DNA work in finding further new discoveries in the spiralling world of DNA?

Other interesting fields making breakthroughs in Science are the Proteme study, which is the study of The Human Proteome Map, which maps the proteins within the body and its functions. (Links to sites below).

http://phillysportsreport.com/science-27/independent-research-groups-publish-near-complete-human-proteome-maps-240.html

Also there are in the world of biology things like extreme cross breeding to bring about Spider Goats (Synthetic biology used to cross breed ‘spiders qualities to goats. )

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jan/14/synthetic-biology-spider-goat-genetics

And Stell cell embryo research : Stem Cells have the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. There are studies of both adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.

http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/pages/basics1.aspx

Here’s a link for ‘explaining DNA simply put’

http://tfscientist.hubpages.com/hub/explaining-dna-to-a-six-year-old

And finally I mentioned about the Oldest Human DNA Is 400,000 Years Old – here’s the link:

http://www.ibtimes.com/oldest-human-dna-400000-years-old-why-do-scientists-call-discovery-irritating-1495796

Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou: Tribute Poem by Raj : Inspiring Leaders

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leaders

At Nelson Mandela’s funeral, Maya Angelou read a poem written by her for him, this time I would like to post a poem I have written for both of them.

I’d like to say that they both were leaders of significant importance and they should be remembered for all their hard work and dedication and the movements they led, tirelessly, they are the role models of their time and I remember them for that.

My Poem by Raj:

Inspiring Leaders

The loss of your Lives, your Lives, your Lives,

Those Movements of your lives, your lives, your lives, are remembered with the actions, actions, actions of your lives.

Movements that you thought.

Movements that you dreamt.

Movements that you fought.

Movements that you led.

Movements that you loved.

Movements that you lived.

For those Movements you spent, your lives, your lives, your lives.

Movements that you inspired through difficult times, inspiring throughout your lifetime, they went on to span thousands of miles and touched millions of lives, lives, lives.

Those Movements, you saw us through, with Peace and Love, hand in hand and broke through barriers of race, colour, hatred, discrimination, war and much, much more.

Movements, Movements, Movements, Moments, Moments, Moments,

Movements that you led, with everything that you had, and with everything that you said, people you inspired, whilst you never tired.

Your lives your lives your lives, for a better World, in service of humanity.

In every Movement you were there for every moment, in effort to make the World a better place.

Everyone will remember you for all your important moments and will always be inspired by your lives, your lives, your lives, in your every moment, moment, moment, you have only inspired, inspired, inspired our Lives, our Lives, our Lives.

Thank you for your leadership.

 

Raj Mehta

Written by Raj

May 30, 2014 at 12:50 am

Lords’ Pro-Fracking Report published yet Poll shows Fracking not in Favour!

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Lord MacGregor was saying recently that Fracking in Britain holds many benefits. Recently a report published by The Lords Economic Affairs Committee, whom one or more of the members on the committee is said to have  links to Pro-Fracking corporations, have given their views on drilling for Shale Gas, they have outlined in the report that they back the Government’s decision to go “all out for shale”, however they make a request to do far more to engage the public on the benefits of Fracking in the UK and say it will provide more jobs, and bring about energy security.

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The report published went on to say that “Developing a successful shale gas and oil industry in the UK must be an urgent national priority.”

Although the report may have taken a liking to Fracking in terms of short-term money and making a quick buck, there are many dangers to Fracking and instead of taking a cautious approach, the committee have asked to speed up the implementation for the plans to Frack. If so many people are opposed surely they should be heard and their concerns addressed. Realistically many would now say that Fracking should not happen, as there are too many dangers involved with the focus on the wrong type of energy (fossil) instead of on green and clean renewable energy.

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The Green Party Leader of Croydon Shasha Khan said upon being questioned by Raj News that “The Government should seize the opportunity to embrace energy reduction with renewables not Fracking.

Fracking is an extreme energy source” Shasha went on to speak of Cuadrilla an oil and gas exploration company in the UK who are pursuing Shale Gas in the UK by hydraulic fracturing in the ground, he said “Cuadrilla have already said that energy prices will not come down due to Fracking, so why risk polluting our water.”

The report mentioned the EU’s reliance on Russia for Gas and how Fracking would stop this reliance. They do not however mention the EU’s fine to the UK for not meeting its Air Quality/Pollution requirements, there is a pending case against the UK by the EU, which could see the UK picking up bills worth millions for not doing enough to reduce the pollution and cleaning up the air.

The UK could see these fines dropped if the Government acts now and can show there is an improvement, in air quality. With car traffic jams in areas and things like incinerators, unnecessarily burning waste when it could be recycled, where is the encouragement to the public on these issues.

The Green party have been doing their bit in Croydon, opposing an Incinerator in Beddington Lane by putting in a judicial review, against Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to have an incinerator in Beddington Lane which would serve Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston, although there is danger of toxic fumes carrying downwind, unfairly building up, to pollute areas, which do not want to be harmed, by these dangerous fumes.

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With all these prominent dangers at the forefront, the Government still want to dangerously fracture the earth in an effort to unlock Shale gas, the dangers of this are creating toxic drinking water as Shasha Khan mentions and instead of trying to promote renewable energy, the Government wants to continue focusing on fossil fuels at the cost of damaging the UK – Fracking has been linked to Earthquakes.

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When it comes to regulation of Fracking the Lord’s have said that regulation should be streamlined, such as in cases where a company may want to drill under people’s houses they can do so without needing a license.

The Lords’ report seems to promote fracking and Lord MacGregor said on a radio interview with the BBC that Fracking will provide the public with lower fuel bills, he also mentions the US taking up Fracking. The radio host points out that “in the USA there are vasts amounts of unpopulated land, whereas in the UK you’re looking to do Fracking in relatively populated areas.” Lord MacGregor says that they’ve looked at this problem and any effects to the environment, yet this is a cherry picked report  which gives us a selected amount of information that is Pro-Fracking.

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Chief scientist Dr Doug Parr of Green Peace UK says of the report: “On one page the Lords are saying public concerns should be taken seriously, on the other they urge the government to strip people of their right to say no to Fracking firms planning to drill under their homes – a move opposed by three-quarters of British people.” They also backed moves by the Government to change trespass laws so that shale companies could drill under people’s property without their permission to ensure development could go ahead “without undue delay or cost”.

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Caroline Lucas of the Green Party also featured in the interview, she made it clear that Fracking is not a solution to anything and pointed out surely the UK are not going to go ahead with this. She mentioned that there are far more jobs in renewable energy compared to that of Fossil fuels. She spoke of having a cap on fossil fuel emissions, and how drilling for shale gas can cause levels in methane to increase which is dangerous, especially as the numbers on methane gas is highly underestimated.

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I would stress that this is a swipe by the Government to make some quick money, rather than educate the public on this issue and listen to the people who are, now, in a poll, overall against Fracking, in the UK.

Dr Parr criticised the report, warning Fracking was a “non-solution” that would not deliver for many years, if at all. Caroline Lucas points out that Fracking would lock us into the fossil fuel industry rather than working towards a positive renewable clean energy industry.

Dr Parr’s analysis of the report was a realistic one and he said, “The Lords spent seven months cherry-picking the wafer thin evidence that fits a foregone conclusion about the benefits of shale gas. This is just more taxpayer-funded cheerleading from unelected politicians who seem all too happy to ignore the country’s legitimate concerns about Fracking.”

The Dr and Caroline Lucas and Shasha Khan echoed each other when they spoke of the real urgent national priority, which is to push ahead with the renewable technology and efficiency measures.

Although the BBC did not mention in an article about Fracking that the Green Party (whom of late have not even had much media coverage by the BBC in the elections) whose Leader Natalie Bennet is a keen campaigner against Fracking alongside Caroline Lucas who was arrested for protesting against Fracking, after having real concerns about the UK issue of Fracking and alongside Green Peace, WWF, and Friends of the Earth’s concerns – who also did not get much coverage either.

The BBC did highlight the dangers of chemicals in Fracking they said:

“Hydraulic fracturing of shale to extract gas involves pumping water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure to allow the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

There is a worry that chemicals used in Fracking may escape and contaminate groundwater around the Fracking site.

Another environmental concern is that Fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the Fracking site, at significant environmental cost.”

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The campaigning group, Friends of the Earth, commented: “The report recognises that the regulations aren’t working – but calling for the Government to ‘simplify’ regulations and speed up the process will not reassure local communities and a public unconvinced by this risky technology.”

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The WWF- UK said:

Nick Molho, Head of Climate and Energy Policy at WWF-UK said: “The Lords seemed to have overlooked the many serious analysts who have said that shale gas in the UK is unlikely to have much impact on either gas prices or the UK’s rising exposure to gas imports.

“If we are genuinely going to reduce the UK’s vulnerability to future fossil fuel price shocks, the main priority must be to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in the first place.

“Moving rapidly towards an energy system that’s more efficient, low-carbon and better integrated with those of our European partners should therefore remain the UK’s highest national priority when it comes to energy policy.”

WWF_EarthHour_Globe2

In conclusion:

There is a danger in going after shale gas, which is still unknown about in terms of quantity, quality and is most likely under the ground in different layers, making it difficult to access; whereas in the USA there is land which is flat and plenty in unpopulated areas, making the gas easier to extract, the same cannot be said for the UK with its populated areas and complex land structure and layers of the earth.

Fracking has added to the climate change debate, and Fracking will only damage the climate, which Fracking can have serious implications on, nevertheless it has become a part of the debate on climate change as it can cause a huge set back to the climate through air quality, natural disasters, water contamination and earthquakes; there should be a focus on renewable energy rather than using less dirtier fossil fuel (Shale gas compared to Coal), which looks set to harm the UK, residents, and environment just as much, if money was spent on Green renewable energy, this would pay off in the longterm.

There are so many alternatives yet Fracking is what the Government want to pursue. There are many out there protesting against Fracking to put a stop on it before it starts, make sure your concerns are heard write to the politicians and tell them to stop their plans as not many of the members of the public agree with Fracking and it is dangerous and also we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to work now on the future with renewable energy, which is clean, green, job making, and recyclable, renewable, and the future.

Green Party VIDEO – Vote GREEN GREEN GREEN!

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Written by Raj

May 21, 2014 at 8:52 am

Green Party – Raj Mehta standing for Norbury Councillor

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On 14th May, Wednesday evening, I attended a Hustings organised by the local Residents of Norbury Association alongside other members from political parties, other than the Green Party. The Panel on which I was seated with these other party members were asked questions by local residents after our introductory opening speeches.

My opening introduction is as follows:

Hello! My Name is Raj Mehta, I am a new member of the Green Party, I am 28 years old and have lived in Croydon all my life and in Norbury for the last 20 years.

I am a graduate with a degree in Communications and feel with my skills working as a Journalist and using my interpersonal skill, that I will be able to utilise my experience to help bring about a process that works locally, Norbury, Croydon, and on towards Central governance.

I have a strong belief that you should take care of your environment, social care and education and I think this should begin from your own area and as a ripple effect it can be extended to the rest of the country and even the world.

I also feel that in taking care of the environment and ensuring equal opportunities to all we will be able to bridge the gap between the less advantage, this assists in lowering crimes like the London looting, lift morals and would help the public to get the feel good factor and would prompt them to get a feel for a better lifestyle, which would lead them to attain employment and afford housing with revenue, as more people who are in employment means more spending power within our area.

I am here because I want to assist to improve our lives and environment and bring about a voice to issues like Fracking in Croydon, also the incinerator being built in Beddington lane, as this will affect us all, with its impacts from the toxic fumes, causing air pollution. The Green Party is actively seeking a judicial review in regards to the incinerator, this has already been submitted. We believe there is a better alternative, and that is to recycle as much as possible. For instance places like San Francisco recycles 80% of its waste we can also avoid more pollution and unnecessary wastage by working towards a recycle rate that is close to 80% like in San Francisco.

These important topics that are at the top of the Green Party Agenda, they are important to the future of our local area and will ensure that the future generations will benefit from them.

Croydon Green Party has 70 candidates standing across the borough – a full slate, including three candidates in Norbury. My fellow candidates in our ward are Doug Arrowsmith and Marie Norfield. Marie would normally be doing the Norbury hustings but for her own reasons she has not able to this time.

Marie has lived in Norbury for 27 years.  For much of that time she was a career civil servant in the departments of employment and education. Now retired, in 2013 Marie planned and organised the planting of a Bee and Butterfly border in Norbury Hall Park. She along with the local residents are looking to start a friends group of the park, whose aim is for 2014 to provide a more sustainable planting throughout the park to help turn Norbury into a greener local area. She has contributed to local clean-up campaigns against fly-tipping, and against the closure of Norbury Library, where she informally leads  a monthly reading group. A key campaigner for the Green Party and the local residents of Norbury,

I would work to do the same, make Norbury Greener, oppose cuts, support the environment, with a push for safer cycling and recycling. Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennet said in a speech We are not concerned with individual behaviour, we are in the Green Party to work on POLITICS, SOCIETY, AND ECONOMY, and bring about a change on these key matters, again I am working to do the same for Norbury.

I do hope you will join the Green Party and its causes and help us to build a better Croydon and also have a say in the way our area and our country is governed.

This is your chance to make a difference to your local community and for the future generation by supporting The Green Parties pledge, and you can do this by supporting me and my colleagues.

Please vote for me to be your local councillor and I assure you I and the Green Party will do all we can to represent you to the fullest.

Thank you

Raj Mehta

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Much thanks, to Irene and Barry of the Green Party for showing their support and Shasha Khan too.

There were many issues addressed by myself in answering questions to the local residents of Norbury.

The issues raised by the residents of Norbury were all very important topics and I addressed many of them in the short amount of time we had, here are a list of some of the topics raised and the Green’s policy:

  • The state of Norbury Park (cleaner and greener use of CCTV, park ranger)
  • Vision for Norbury and Norbury High Street (Cleaner, greener, promotion of local business that put back into the community)
  • Betting Shops (Review licenses and stop issuing licenses)
  • Homeless and Sleeping rough in local parks (park rangers with an aim to address the causes of homelessness)
  • Regeneration of Norbury (look at helping to fund local business grants)
  • Flytipping (Greens have a 6 point plan on this)
  • Transport (Encourage public transport use and cycling, extend the tram to Cystal Palace)
  • Local work in the community (Use the Sustainable Communities Act and bring about more community centres)
  • Approach to working with other parties (co-operate and work together for the local community with everyone’s views listened to)
  • Improving in areas of Employment and Schools (London Living wage for all and smaller classrooms with more schools built)
  • Environment (Greens oppose the Incinerator and Fracking and will work to improve the environment)
  • Youth and Community Development (open and improve youth centres and develop other community hotspots and schemes)
  • Crime (More officers on the streets to prevent crime, improve street lighting)
  • The Riots (Educate the youth and address social inequality to stop this from happening in the future)
  • Multiculturalism and Diversity – Immigration (encourage multiculturalism and diversity and work to stay in a reformed EU and accept migration to and from the EU, and improve infrastructure to deal with increase in population)
  • Car Parking (look at parking restrictions and improvements to parking areas)
  • Neighbourhood Community Police (more officers on the street)
  • Norbury Library (we will aim to get this back into public hands and keep it open for longer hours)
  • Housing Affordability (We aim to reach at least a 50% housing affordability rate)
  • Westfields and Big corporations plans to develop (Greens oppose even more identikit shopping centres. Our vision is for local, independent shops, whilst aiming to provide affordable rents to all.)
  • Society and Inequality (Greens are for social justice in and against inequality)Council tax (Greens will keep this in line with inflation)

    I would also like to thank Tracey Hague who is a GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE for CROYDON and she also spoke at a hustings debate against other members of parties about the following GREEN MANIFESTO and Pledge at FAIRFIELD HALLS, CROYDON, and did a spectacular job on raising awareness on the issues of FRACKING and the INCINERATOR.Here are some videos from the Norbury Husting which I participated in:

    greenparty logoThis manifesto reflects our ten priorities for the people of Croydon. We’ve listened to you and believe that these policies address the real concerns of Norbury and Croydon.

  • The only way to make sure we can help implement them is to ensure we have a strong voice on the council.Vote Green Green Green on 22nd May for the common good.2014 GREEN PARTY MANIFESTO

    1) Referendum on the incinerator

    We oppose the toxic incinerator and will hold a referendum to let residents decide whether to go ahead with the incinerator. Our alternative is to increase recycling
    by offering incentives to residents, and making it easier and cheaper for businesses, charities, schools and places of worship to recycle.

    2) Save green spaces – No to fracking

    Croydon’s parks and woods are for relaxation. Only the Green Party will oppose all exploration for gas and oil in our green spaces and under our homes. Hydraulic fracturing will contaminate ground water, increase the risk of earth tremors and industrialise our green spaces.

    3) Dealing with knife crime

    Croydon Council, police, residents, and community groups such as charities and places of worship need to work together to combat knife crime. Young people need alternatives to gang culture: youth clubs, martial arts, music, sport offer positive activities for self-development and enhancing job prospects.

    4) Building homes

    Croydon needs more affordable social housing whilst protecting green spaces. Developments should prioritise local residents, not speculative investment, and
    include a suitable mix of reasonably priced accommodation. Tenants in privately rented housing should be protected from excessive rent levels.

    5) Safer streets

    We will consult with local residents on a 20mph limit for all residential roads in Croydon. This lower speed limit reduces the casualties from road accidents by
    40%.We will also retain lollipop persons at strategic crossings in order to encourage walking to school.

    6) Bike lanes

    Croydon has a poor record of investment in cycling, and a low level of cycling. The Croydon Green Party would encourage cycling by creating a network of
    safe cycle lanes, cycle friendly streets and routes through parks to help to reduce pollution, improve health and provide a faster way to travel.

    7) Fly tipping

    This must be tackled robustly by better co-ordination of council staff and police, publicising a free phone hotline to report fly-tipping, swift removal of rubbish,
    scrapping the collection charge for heavy items including mattresses, and the prosecution of offenders.

    8) Fair pay Croydon

    We support the London Living Wage campaign and call on local employers including Croydon Council and their contractors to implement the London Living Wage for all employees. In addition, Croydon Council should establish a 10:1 maximum pay ratio for council employees.

    9) Preventing flooding

    Better planning is needed to avoid flooding and deal with it if necessary. The Council must ensure developers prioritise flood resilience and prevention in new buildings, and include Climate Change adaptations in existing buildings. Local planning rules need strengthening to raise energy efficiency.

    10) Public services

    We support high-quality public services run for people not profit. We will maintain the Council Tax in line with inflation to protect services such as libraries and social care, and encourage arts events. We will also involve residents in decision making e.g. through public meetings and social media.

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Leopard still on the prowl in northern Indian town of Meerut?

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Meerut has been panicked by a leopard on the prowl, schools and colleges have been closed since the leopard was first spotted on Sunday in a warehouse and a person felt the power of the leopard as it attacked him and escaped.

The leopard also entered a hospital and was locked in a room before the leopard escaped via a window and could not be tranquilised by the wildlife rescue teams called in to take this leopard away from the public and relocate it back to the forest.

Many Police officers have been called in too as have army units, the town is on a high alert after the total number of people injuired has been 7.

There was an opportunity for the wildlife rescue teams which went wrong after the crowds seemed to alert the leopard to their presence, at which point the leopard made a hasty escape.

Leopards are large territorial mammals. They need space to move around. Some of their corridors are getting blocked so there is bound to be an interface,”

“We can’t put all the leopards into cages. We can’t remove all the people living near forested areas. We have to manage the situation the best way we can.”

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Deepankar Ghosh from The World Wildlife Foundation India gave the statement on what needs to be done after this dangerous encounter in Meerut and also the string of occurences throughout India, referring to other incidents such as in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh, where a leopard caused the death of a 5 year old boy and a female tiger which has caused the death of 8 men in a number of encounters and the many other incidents across India.

The WWF’s call for an operational and organisational approach of forests and other habitats is vital as currently there is a problematic scenario of territorial corridors being blocked, with no access for the leopards without being detected by the communities scattered about near these routes.

These largely territorial species need free corridors, their territories have been encroached upon, and there is a  lack of space for the leopards to move around, the leopards need to find open corridors to move about, yet these  have become narrower mainly due to the saturation of communities. India’s leopard population is numbered at 1,150 according to the 2011 census.

Leopard looks through Meerut window

Written by Raj

February 27, 2014 at 3:06 am

PM David Cameron & President Francois Hollande: The UK & FRANCE Summit

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The summit is being held at RAF, Brize Norton, UK. Prime-Minister David Cameron has been hosting French President Francois Hollande and their aim is to discuss primarily the relationship between the UK and France on issues such as security, reform of the EU, nuclear energy, defence & space collaboration and how to make the EU more competitive.

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The air base of RAF Brize Norton provided many photo opportunities with defence planes as a backdrop.

The PM’s were accompanied by Secretaries and Ministers, such as the Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary, Energy Secretary and Minister for Science, both the UK and French counterparts made their announcements, of which included many UK-French collaborations, which the No10 have referred to as a further strengthening of co-operation between the two countries.

The outcome of the Summit saw announcements on the UK and France signing a declaration on nuclear energy and agree cooperation on ambitious climate change action, and the two countries agreeing to closer defence co-operation and a £15 million investment which will see a space collaboration between the UK and France.

The EU reforms discussion was the most difficult for the two to work together on, with PM Hollande saying the amendments to the EU reform are “not urgent”.  David Cameron faced the issue of trying to negotiate on the UK’s membership with the EU before a referendum in 2017, President Hollande did not seem to be wanting to rush anything and saying that a treaty change was “not necessary”, although President Hollande did say in the future there could be a reform if it helped with the EU to be “better co-ordinated”.

Prime-minister David Cameron will be able to go ahead with a UK vote on the issue of an in-out EU referendum, if he is re-elected in the 2015 general election, which would see the UK vote take place on the EU referendum in 2017.

The French and the UK also looked at the important issue of the Central African Republic, Libya and Syria, and the issue of radicalisation of French and British citizens, fighting abroad. It was of course President Hollande who intervened with french troops in the Central African republic and the UK have said they will assist in these operations to counter these militants.

Although the two men managed to make some movement on the discussions and agreements, there will be much more to do in making these agreements work and especially on the UK – EU relationship.

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Malala’s launch of book – CANCELLED

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The book was to launch in North West Pakistan in the district of Peshwar.

Malala is the girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban after campaigning for girls education rights.

Malala’s book is entitled “I am Malala” and the words alongside this title read – ‘The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the taliban.’

The book is a memoir and controversy has been ignited from the day it was supposed to launch and was cancelled; which is down to local officials pressurising for the launch to be cancelled on the day of Tuesday 28th January, 2014.

The story has developed since then with the involvement of government and the police, informing the University of Peshwar, with whom the book was to be launched and the University being told on numerous occassions that the launch should be cancelled, and then further urged to cancel the massive event, with concerns for safety being stated.

The organizer’s have protested their view that they saw this cancellation as a political means to cause disruption to their official book launch.

Malala, aged 16, has had her book referred to as controversial and the author herself referred to as fearless in her memoir accounts of shocking events within the book.

Imran Khan the former Pakistani cricketer turned politician said of the incident via tweet On Tuesday morning:  “I am at a loss to understand why Malala’s book launch stopped in Peshawar. PTI believes in freedom of speech/debate, not censorship of ideas”. PTI the party of Imran Khan and also the party that runs the province of Peshwar seemingly were for Malala’s book launch, yet the University have made the public aware that it was down to governmental intervention that stopped the launch.

The district of Peshwar is known to be attacked by taliban militants frequently, and it has been reported that store keepers have been threatened not to stock the book by the taliban.

The organiser of the event was  The Bacha Khan Education Foundation and their director, Khadim Hussain said of the cancellation: “It (cancellation of the launch) is against the spirit of freedom of expression and promotion of education because holding a ceremony in honour of Malala Yousufzai means to scale up awareness about child rights.”

The cancellation even had Adil Ansari, head of the Imran Khan’s party’s social media wing saying that the lauch of the book at the University was in “violation of rules & regulations.”

The social media reaction from the campaigners and fans of Malala has been immense. Former President Asif Ali Zardari’s daughter Aseefa tweeted: “Pathetic of PTI gov to ban #Malala’s book. This is censorship! Where is our freedom of speech and expression?”

Malala Yousafzai’s book was co-written with journalist Christina Lamb, which was published in October 2013 and Malala has been busy, this has been some of her work since July 2013:

July – Malala Addressed United Nations in New York
July – I’m Malala song released
Sep – Malala Opens world’s largest library in Birmingham
Oct – Malala Receives “Raw in War” Award 2013
Oct – I am Malala Book was published!
Oct – Malala was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Oct – Malala met Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace
Oct – Malala Met Barack Obama in USA
Nov – Malala reunited with her school friends in Scotland
Nov – Malala was selected as the “Glamour woman of the year”
Nov – Malala received Europe’s biggest Human rights award Sakharov

Throughout the busy schedule of her’s, Malala managed to get her book published and as for the launch it has unfortunately been postponed, so now it’s a matter of time before the book is out and the next launch will continue to be controversial, although many will be hoping it is not cancelled, next time around.

Has this sought to make Malala’s campaign stronger? And the Taliban’s weaker? What will the government do to ensure she will get her book launch?

Feel free to have your say – Raj Mehta –

Written by Raj

January 31, 2014 at 1:24 am

Holloway! Sent Away! From the touchline! Two Match Ban!

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Ian Holloway Crystal Palace FC Manager, has been given a two match ban for criticising the referee when Palace played Tottenham and lost 1-0 on 18th August 2013.

The criticism came from Holloway when he contested the penalty given to Tottenham, saying that Mark Clattenburg had missed the crucial foul on a Palace player in the build up to the penalty, Tottenham however did not miss from the spot and Roberto Saldado gave his team the crucial one goal lead, and that goal proved to be enough on the day.

Holloway had seen an incident, whereas the referee had missed it, coincidentally?

The Palace boss made comments after the match saying : “I had this with Blackpool. Certain clubs get fouls and others don’t.”

He also said of the referees : “It’s going to be a long, hard season for me with these people.”

This is not the first time a manager has complained of certain clubs being given fouls and other clubs not being given a fair refereeing performance.

Goal line technology has come into the equation this season and this move will be seen as making the matches fairer, although from Holloway’s comments it seems that there is still much more to be done to make things fair, and especially in the cases when there are matches between smaller clubs and the larger ones.

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The FA provided a statement regarding the two match ban: “Ian Holloway will serve a two-match touchline suspension with immediate effect after Crystal Palace notified the FA that they would not be appealing the sanction.”

Not only will the Palace boss, who is just as animated as the most enthusiastic and passionate managers around, receive a two match touchline ban, he is also being fined £18,000.

Ten thousand for his language and behaviour in or around the referees dressing room and eight thousand for his post match comments to the media, which brought into question referee Clattenburg’s performance and action taken in giving the decisive Penalty to Tottenham.

This ban means that Holloway will not be on the touchline for the away match against Manchester United on 14th September, he will also be away from the touchline on the home match against Swansea on 22nd September 2013.

Ian Holloway aged 50 is known for his funny interviews and outrageous quotes in response to the media and is known as ‘Ollie’, his managerial career spans just over 16 years.

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A two match ban, for any manager, will be difficult, especially as Holloway likes to direct from the touchline as much as he can and this approach is one that led Palace back to the Premiership and the players of course, Holloway said on promotion back to the top flight “It all starts now, the minute the Premier League begins we will be on a hiding to nothing but we want to stay there!”

Will Palace stay there?

Feel free to leave a comment!

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